Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wildlife and the Economy

In these sluggish economic times, we might ask “When budgets are so tight, what is the value of supporting the cost of wildlife projects?”

Actually, wildlife viewing, fishing and hunting are big business. According to a Winter 2008 report from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife:

• Washington draws 2,331,000 wildlife watchers annually – both resident and non-resident.
• Annual spending in Washington by wildlife watchers totals $1,502,311,000 (that's billions folks).
• Washington ranks 7th in the nation in spending behind California, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Georgia and New York.
• Spending increased 53 percent from 2001 to 2006.

These monies are spent on travel, food, lodging, equipment and other goods and services. The bounty is spread across the state, especially in small towns and rural areas, lending an economic boon to many areas that need it.

Beyond the aesthetic and spiritual values we feel towards nature and wildlife, those critters also contributes greatly to our economy!

Julie L. (Hayes) Hopkins
Marine and Wildlife Biologist
Threatened and Endangered Species Specialist

Cetos Research Organization. 'Working to enhance and augment conservation and management of living marine resources through research.'

Grizzly Bear Outreach Project. 'Promoting an accurate understanding of grizzly bears and their recovery in the North Cascades Ecosystem through community education and involvement.'